Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Broke Student's Cupboard Feast

Okay. So, admittedly "feast" might be taking this dish one step (or a leap) too far... but it is an invaluable cupboard scraping meal. As it's based on a Nigella "recipe" (the Exhausted Mother's tea-time special from her "Bites" series) you know it's gotta be good! (I would post a link, but apparently it's not deemed a real recipe and the internet doesn't have a copy yet?)

It's a sort of rice/lentil pasta sauce soup... Nigella tells you to simply bring a jar of pasta sauce and a jar of water to the boil before stirring in a handful of rice, cooking for 10 (ish) minutes and serving to small children with a lump of Parmesan nearly the size of their heads to grate over.

My "ingredient" list is a little more extensive, but the basic premise is the same. I added lentils for protein, and frozen spinach for greens thus making it an *almost* balanced meal...

As with my last post - you need to make sure that you use a pasta sauce you like, as it is the dominant flavour - but other than that go nuts with whatever you have in your cupboard/fridge/freezer...

eg: chick peas, broccoli, pasta, un-veggie-ise it with some chopped ham... or veganise it and leave off the cheese...

The beauty of this dish was that I could not go to the supermarket for almost three weeks (not something I recommend!) and still manage to put a tasty meal on the table... Score 1 for Kat!




Thursday, December 8, 2011

Eggs Poached in Marinara Sauce

I'm feeling guilty. For being a bad, naughty not-blogging bloger-er...

I'm at home for the summer/(hopefully) next six months now - but I still have some student goodies to pass on to y'all when I can be bothered... :)

Because, it's not as if I being doing nothing since I left you all with Taste and Create in November... I've been doing all sorts of things!

  • reading other people's blogs...
  • job hunting, wildly unsuccessfully... anybody looking for a Kat to join their work force out there? I'm a nice person, I promise!
  • being entirely too successful with a sourdough bug
  • organising my 21st Birthday Party (my actual Birthday falls on a Wednesday this year = not so good for parties...)
  • sitting my "summer" paper - I've got a 10/12 average thus far - go me! :)
  • trying to convince my boyfriend that catching up with me might actually be fun (varying success on that one...)
  • moving and stacking firewood (I tell you, when I grow-up-and-get-rich-and-have-six-houses they will ALL have gas fires! No more bloody fire wood for me!)
  • not tidying my room...
See? Lots of things! Just... not blogging.

Fear not! I have for you a revolutionary recipe taken direct from Katie the College Culinarian (she's one of my favourites): Eggs Poached in Marinara Sauce!

This recipe, if, indeed one can really call it a recipe, is so simple, delicious and wonderful that you'll wonder to yourself "...and I didn't come up with this all by myself because...?!" and then you will cook it twice in one week. At least, that's what I did.

The first time I "made" my own marinara sauce - the second time (as photographed here) I used shop-bought sauce but threw in some peas and spinach for greens. Any good, shop bought, tomato based sauce that you can stand eating fairly unadorned would work here... I served it all over pasta to ensure that Master Joshee was able to have his fill.
There is an egg in there, see?
As you may have guessed by the "cook[ed] it twice in one week" this will fast become a staple!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Taste & Create: Chocolate Explosion Oatmeal Cookies

This month for Taste & Create I was paired with Alisa Fleming of Alisa Cooks... Alisa's blog is dairy free, not a realm in which I oft' walk so reading her blog was an interesting experience for me... further more many of her recipes are gluten-, soy-, egg- and/or nut-free... I had a great time perusing her recipes!

Eventually though, I found her recipe for Chocolate Explosion Oatmeal Cookies made with rolled oats, they are vegan, egg-, nut-, dairy- and soy free - therefore they MUST be a health food... and BOY! are they the tastiest health food EVER! :)
Beautiful, glossy, dark brown cookies...

Deliciously gooey in the centre - yes that's a broken-in half cookie... they're light enough to sit a-top a rose petal!
I was so proud of me - I was going to tell y'all about how I finally, finally followed a recipe to the letter! And then I thought about it... and how I:
  •  halved the recipe...
  • and then I didn't have any ground flaxseed (linseed), so I tried to replace it with wheat germ (apparently you can do that...?) but I didn't have any of that either so I used oat bran instead (I made that alternative up myself)... (ironically, if I'd been at the flat making these I would have been able to use flaxseed as directed...)
  • and then I doubled the vanilla called for because we only had essence, not extract...
  • and I added just the tiniest pinch of cinnamon a la Laura Vitale...
  • and used all coconut cream, rather than coconut flavoured dairy-free milk and olive oil...
So, in the end, I baked like the Kat I am - to my own tune! But the cookies truly are delicious!

I do have one question though - I halved the recipe, but I made the large, 2 Tbsp sized cookies Alisa recommended... a whole 14 of them (after I ate, maybe a cookie's worth of batter... hey! it's egg free, it's all good!)... which begs the question: Have I finally found someone who enjoys eating cookie batter even more than I do? :)

Sesame Orange Salad

To round off my Nigella Feast... of Chicken Nuggets and Baked, Stuffed Potatoes I now present the accompanying Orange Sesame Salad...

Mesclun  salad leaves with an orange, sesame dressing.
Now this one, is based, very very loosely on Nigella's Garlicky Spinach Tomato Salad, in that I borrowed the idea of using the tomato, or in this case, orange as part of the dressing rather than as part of the salad... beyond that the flavouring, although not an original combination are all mine!

See, when in comes to fruit, I am a fussy bugger, and will only ever really eat it just as it comes into ripeness... drives my mother, and the occasional flatmate, up the wall! As such, I had these oranges that my loving mother had sent me, but I had yet to get around to eating them... when... DUN DUN DUN!!! They became far to ripe for human (read: Kat-line) consumption... but I didn't want to just throw them away - that would be rude! So I decided to take a leaf out of Nigella's... DVD collection?... and use it them to make a salad dressing. But rather than using just the juice - I wanted to use the whole of the flesh - as Nigella did with her tomatoes... mixed with some sesame seeds and oil, and just a hint of fresh grated ginger (*ahem* fromatube) to create a rather tasty salad dressing, though I do say so myself.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Now I'm Just Showing Off: Callum's Computer Board Birthday Cake

My younger brother Callum is, affectionately, a computer nerd.

For his 18th Birthday this past April, I wanted to make him a computer-styled cake... as I'm a total novice cake decorator a fair amount of artistic licence was employed... but the basic idea was there... and the cake tasted good!

"Cake" in the broad sense of the word - it was in fact 2 layers of brownie and one layer of blondie... From each layer I cut a circle which I then shoved into another layer so that each was two toned:
Milk Brownie into a Blondie layer...

... Dark Brownie into a Milk Brownie layer...

... and a Blondie circle in a Dark Brownie layer.
Yes... I deliberately off-centred some of the circles - I thought that'd make it all look more awesome! :)

Each layer was sandwiched to the next with chocolate, cream cheese frosting - Callum's favourite....

Then - I coated the whole cake with the chocolate frosting, save for the very top which I used green frosting left over from when I made the carrot cupcake I have yet to upload... Woops!

Did I do a crumb coat? No.
Should I have? Probably.

Did I fridge/freeze the cake before frosting? No.
Should I have? Yeeeah... Probably.

Will I do so in future? If I remember...
Does the world end if you forget these steps? Apparently not.

I wanted the top of the cake to look like a computer chip/board... thing. Hence - the green icing... over the green I drew little yellow lines in square-ish patterns with writing icing, I tried to use buttercream, but I had issues... and I made the "connections" out of little silver cachous.

At the centre top, you can see the failed buttercream... but doesn't it look a little computer chip like...? If you don't know what computer chips actually look like... ;)
The chocolate chips around the edge are to hide the join between the brown and green icings.

Finally, around the vertical edge, I used tempered, white chocolate to make the binary number 0100 0011 which is the combination used to denote the letter 'C'... I tempered the chocolate to stop it blooming, and to give it snap - it's not a particularly difficult process... I might go into detail, one-day... maybe... :)

Mad piping skills right there... Not.
Further reason behind the tempering of the chocolate was - I hoped it'd hold up better when I ferried it from waxed paper to cake surface... All in all, I feel it was a success!

This is was the cake looked like from the inside after all that circling and shoving...

The final product - not bad, in my opinion!
Below, at long last I give you the recipe for the brownies... Each layer was played around with a little... next to no (brown) sugar and less butter than the original for the white layer (with extra vanilla), 1/4 as much sugar as called for for the milk layer, half as much sugar and butter for the dark... etc... For once, though, I'm going to share the original recipe... which came from a recipe book written by a family friend, Rosie Mitchell.

At Last! Nigella's Rizty Chicken Nuggets = Kat's Oaty Chicken Nuggets

Do you remember ages, and ages ago... back when I was trying to post regularly what I ate on Wednesday and I posted about a Nigella Feast that consisted of Blood and Guts potatoes, and Orange Sesame dressed salad and oatmeal chicken nuggets...?

Well. The link to the potatoes is above - but that's as far as I got. Today, I will post for you - the Chicken Nuggets!

Not the most beautiful things, are they?
I attribute the pale-ness of these little babies to their oatie coating, and the fact that they were oven baked, rather than deep fried. The first time I made 'em I used crush cornflakes, Nigella uses crushed savoury crackers - both of these mediums make for excellent crunch... Rolled oats, although not crunchy, will do in a pinch! They feel healthier too...

Nigella says that the buttermilk, or in my case - yoghurt, "marinade" makes for a more succulent, tender nibble - I've never tried without the marinade so I can't validate that - but it sure makes the coating easier!

These are tasty little morsels that are easy to make, and will be made in the future. Valid student food too!


Sunday, October 23, 2011

Maca-WRONGs

Back when I first started reading blogs - French Macarons were all the rage...


Macarons (not to be confused with coconutty Macaroons) are almond based meringue cookies sandwiched together with buttercream, cream, ganache, dulce de leche, jam... you get the idea! And they are notoriously difficult... As such they come with a variety of rules of how to make... And while making my "MacaWRONGS" I broke nearly every single one of them! Including a few of my own, personal baking rules...


The result - if not tpyical was a tasty, chewy cookie which I layered with hazelnut yoghurt for a classy(ish) dessert...


They don't look too bad, do they?
A list of the rules I broke to come up with these would include, but not be limited to:

  • Don't even START to bake these if the weather is humid... it was raining...
  • Use ground almonds, preferably shop bought (it'll be drier/less likely to clump) and for God's sake SIFT IT!... I used hazelnuts. I ground them myself (although I did roast them first to improve flavour/dry them out a little) aaand... I couldn't be bothered sifting my ground hazelnuts.
  • Use day- to week-old room temperature egg whites... Well, my eggs whites weren't day-fresh (point to Kat!) but - I pulled them out of the fridge, maybe 5 minutes before I started making these...
  • Whisk egg whites in a stainless steel bowl - or strengthen them with creme of tartar... There's a scientific reason for using a stainless steel bowl which Mrs. Humble explains best, long story short the medium you should most avoid beating your egg whites in is glass... guess what I used...?
  • Pipe out small blobs of the meringue mixture with a piping bag... or use a spoon to make oversized puddles...
  • Allow to rest for 30-60 minutes, or until tacky... that's the same as 20 ish minutes, right?
And then I probably didn't bake them for long enough - because, although my cookies did form feet (another point for Kat!) they stayed sticky inside/stuck to my parchment paper...

My own rules that I broke:
  • Never, EVER bake in a bad mood... I thought I had failed a paper I'd worked really hard for (it turns out, I didn't actually fail said paper - my lecturer just forgot to add my exam grade onto my final result - thus I was 30% short! But I didn't know this yet... = very, very upset Kat.
  • Never, EVER dye food purple the first time you make it... Yeah... I don't listen to me all that often...
Chewy, purple goodness...
The moral of this, rather long-winded, story is that although so many people say that cooking, and baking in particular is a "science" and you have to follow recipes to the letter - I disagree! Have fun with your cooking! Throw in a bit of this, or a bit of that - and see what happens!

I mean, look at me - I took one of the most rigid and difficult recipes on the internet and BUTCHERED (ALL the RULES!) and the result, although not perfect was edible, tasty, even! And I managed to create with it what was perceived as a rather spectacular dessert - I love my family!

I honestly believe that many thing in Life, as well as cooking, are only as difficult as you make them out to be... One day, I'll have to tell y'all how I've been casually making Baked Alaska since the age of 11-12 simply because no-one told me it was supposed to be really difficult...

In the mean time, here's my adaption of Mrs. Humble's Macarons - if you dare! :)

Monday, October 17, 2011

Another Nigella Meal: Roast Lamb for One (2)

We all know now, Kat loves, loves Nigella with a lot of love! - Here I've taken a recipe from her Nigella Feasts series, and adapted it to what I had in the cupboard... The original recipe is available on the Food Network site - there are a few criticisms with regards to the fact that a shank is a lower-quality cut of meat and therefore *should* require long, slow cooking rather than a roast - and that the marinade tends to burn to a crisp... Now, I've made this twice for Joshee and me, and neither times have we had problems (I don't like to post things I wouldn't eat/don't think are fix-able...)! BUT I have come up with a few possible solutions to the problems - just baring in mind that I have no experience with them myself, this is just what I'd do if things went wrong for me...:

  • If you're worried about the quality of the meat - try cooking it at, say 150 degrees C, rather than 200 for a little longer... Maybe 2 hours? Cover it with foil if you're worried about the meat drying out!
  • For sticky mess - line your roasting tin with foil - I do this for everything! (it makes Joshee's life much easier! ;) - I do the cooking, he does the cleaning - it's an excellent arrangement!)
  • To solve both those problems in one step - try roasting your lamb shank(s?) in a roasting bag, marinade and all - I'm not a huge fan of this option, as it tends to make the meat pale and kinda flabby, but I guess if you took it outta the bag for the last half hour or so, to brown up - I imagine you could avoid that issue...
... And that's the end of my help suggestions! :) Here's a picture of what I made:

Roast lamb shank, with potatoes and pea "puree"
See? No problems here! Both times my lamb turned out juicy and flavourful - and it was so exciting to be able to have something as extravagant as roast lamb for as little cost as two lamb shanks - I can never finish mine in one sitting, cue lamb and quinoa salad for lunch!

I serve mine with pea puree, like Nigella does, and potatoes, to keep my Boy happy!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Egg-Salad Sandwich

No picture with this one... But, I guess we all know what an egg-salad sandwich looks like...? Maybe if it looks prettier/I'm not taking it to Uni next time I make it - I upload a photo then...?

Anyhow, egg-salad is an easy way to add a little (or a lottle, depending on your definition) protein to your lunch.

Now, I know there are A LOT of opinions out there with regards to eggs anywhere from two a week is almost too many all the way up to two plus a day is the way to go! I'm more an as, and when they show up, I'm happy for an egg or two kinda gal!

Personally, I am a person who needs a lot of protein  in her diet otherwise I go a little bit nut-bar (er) and I get convinced that I'm starving! As such, for me, in an ideal world this would be an egg-salad lunch. No sandwich. Bread and I, well... we aren't close. Unless the the bread is homemade... then we're tighter than... a tight. thing... As for eggs...? They have a complete source of protein! I hear that the white is almost pure protein, but if it nutrition you're after then the yolks/whole eggs are the way to go... But, from there it depends on your stance on saturated fats... Ah! Nutrition... Such a personal thing!

Anyhow, the recipe, such as it is:

2 eggs - boiled. Put eggs into a small pot and cover with cold water. Bring eggs in water to the boil... once boiling allow 2 minutes before turning off the heat and leaving the eggs - in the same, hot water for 10 minutes. After those 10 minutes are up place under cold, running water until all the hot water is displaced. Leave for 5 minutes. Crack the shells, in whatever way suits you before returning to the cold water for another minute before removing the shells and dicing the cooked eggs.

Meanwhile macerate half a teeny-weeny red onion in red wine vinegar or lemon juice...

Once eggs and onion are prepared - tip off the vinegar from the onion and plonk in a bowl with the egg. Sprinkle over the scantest half teaspoon of curry powder ever, followed by a tablespoon of mayonnaise (garlic, for preference - otherwise plain mayo with salt/pepper to taste). Stir it all together and spoon onto a slice of bread... (in an ideal world, where I was still eating bread, this slice of bread would be thick and grainy... but because I live in the real world where the only reason bread is bought on a weekly basis is for my Boyfriend, the bread is thin, and white... Yum.) Top with a generous handful of salad leaves. And some slivered almonds or sunflower seeds - if you want crunch! Cap with a final piece of bread, slice, wrap and pack for Uni!

Today, I'm having  mine with an apple...

I hope y'all have a fantastic week... and I'm going to return to the grindstone...

Tamy's Beef and "Broccoli" Stir Fry

I love stir-fry! I like all the crunchy veggies, the spiky Asian flavours and the noodles or rice with a hint of dressing... What I don't love about stir-fry is my complete inability to make them! I always... well, to be perfectly honest I'm not sure exactly what it is that I "always" do... but I can promise you that "do a fantastic job" will rarely, if ever, follow when I'm talking about stir-fry...

Stir-fry (if you can do it, which - let's face it, most people can!) is an idea student food - quick, flavourful, healthy and, above all cheap! Very little protein is needed to make stir-fry feel like a meal - even an egg will do in a pinch!

However, I do have some schnitzel kicking around in my freezer, and Tamy of Always Eat On the Good China (who is, once again my partner for Taste & Create this month...) has a recipe for Beef & Broccoli Stir Fry... I haven't got any broccoli, but I do have some beef and a bagful of frozen, mixed veggies... So here goes nothing!
It's ALIIIVE!!! *ahem* I mean, it worked!!!



Saturday, September 17, 2011

Blogcation

I'm going on a Blogcation an idea/term borrowed from Erika over at The Teenage Taste...

I desperately need to focus my life right now on working hard at work, working smart on my studies and working out at the gym... So hopefully, in a month's time I'll return to the world of Study Food happier, healthier and less stressed...

My last post for the next wee while will be my Taste & Create submission for this month - but otherwise this is it!

If you're here because you want easy, student food - I recommend Katie the College Culinarian who not only regularly posts tasty looking meals, but she has a wicked sense of humour as well!

So, as Bilbo Baggins once said: "I am going. I am leaving NOW. GOOD-BYE!" 




P.S. - I have no idea why this post is highlighted... apparently Blogspot thinks it's being funny...?

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Taste & Create: Ginger Cake Cookies

Hmmm... I'm just a tad late with this month's Taste & Create... But, better late than never, right?

This month I was paired with Debbi of Debbi Does Dinner... Many of her recipes are aimed at being low-calorie - with a few naughty treats thrown in! :)

After much thought, I settled on Debbi's recipe for Ginger Cookies... and, after a little tinkering of my own - this is what I came out with:

Ginger Cake Cookies
Now, I named these ginger cake cookies because I substituted Debbi's 3/4 cup of vegetable oil for 150g of melted butter - this resulted in a cake-ish textured cookie - if you'd prefer more of a ginger snap go ahead and use the original oil.

The porous hardness of these cookies makes
them great for dunking!
Further alterations I made were to halve the amount of sugar called for - and to use brown, rather than white sugar. It'd be interesting, I think to experiment with relying only on the treacle/molasses for sweetness in these cookies... Another change was to substitute Debbi's molasses for treacle - because I didn't have any... To make these more student store-cupboard friendly, you could probably further substitute the treacle for the more common golden syrup...? Maybe. My final alteration was to the spicage used... Debbi recommends 1 tsp of ground ginger and 1 tsp of ground cinnamon within the cookie... I put 2 tsps of ground ginger into the cookie and used the cinnamon to spice the sugar the cookies were sprinkled with/rolled in before baking. But spice is such a personal thing - I encourage you to do with it what best suits your tastes! Oh! And I also chucked in a cup of wholemeal flour and one white instead of two white...

Overall - these were tasty little morsels they remind me somewhat of my favourite "Honey Biscuits" which I must post some time... Even if I don't make them again (my love of ginger has yet to completely mature...) I'm sure my Mummy, who was quite taken with them, will...

Below is my tinkered with recipe - for the original see Debbi's site!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Student Food: Beef Wellington?!

I've done it. I'm a genius. I deserve a medal. And a million dollars. Or, at least to have my student loan paid off... But then again, that's kinda the same thing as a million dollars anyway... (not to blow my own trumpet, or anything... I am, of course very, very modest - I take after my mother!)

"My gosh!" you say... "What has she done?!" you ask...

Well. Well. I've taken that gorgeous, delicious, expensive Beef Wellington and made it affordable! Without losing any of the taste!!! (Yes. Three exclamation marks are necessary...)

The issue behind real Beef Wellington, by and large is that beautiful, expensive cut of beef fillet... Ouch! Here, I've replaced it with Bolar Beef. Now, because Bolar Beef has a reputation of being somewhat temperamental: sometimes tender, sometimes tough - I cooked it all the way through in a low oven before wrapping it in pastry. This resulted in a slightly drier Beef Wellington than truly ideal - but the theory now is: trade rump for bolar and cook as per normal, should be fine! :) Yum!

Joshee's: with hassel backed potatoes and carrots...
and from the inside:

Mine: with steamed broccoli and cauliflower...
Not super juicy, but real tender and tasty!

Read on for the revolutionary recipe.... :)

Monday, August 15, 2011

Kat/Nigella's Blood and Guts Potatoes

As a follow on from my last night's post, and as requested by my friend Stevo... My version of Nigella's Blood and Guts Potatoes...

Mine are a little different't from Nigella's because "three ghost white balls of mozzarella" just ain't happenin' in this Kiwi student's flat! But small cubes of ordinary Edam do sort of afford you a "kind of intestinal goo" although, I imagine, to a lesser degree than good ol' mozza would... Oh well! Marines Kiwis make do!

BooYah! I totally loaded this @ Uni, y'all!
Sooo... it's not the world's prettiest food item, but it sure is tasty!
Despite the desperate lack of mozzarella, these make a tasty potato side with an unfortunate tendency to distract me from the fact that I'm technically avoiding starchy carbs right now... Still, half a potato never hurt anyone, right?

Any left over filling can be mixed with an egg and baked in a tinfoil cup for your boyfriend's lunch the next day - just be sure to write his initials in tomato sauce on the top!


Sunday, August 14, 2011

RWW: A Nigella Meal!

(Wednesday, Sunday... same diff, right?)

So... It was coming up to tea-time and I was watching my Nigella DVDs. More specifically, I was watching my 'Nigella Feasts' DVD - Fun Food where she discusses making awesome food for children and then naming said food items "Blood and Guts Potatoes" or "Slime Soup" - how's a girl to resist, I ask you?!

Being that I had no specific plans for tea yet (woops...) I allowed Nigella to guide me - and I created a delicious (though I do say so myself...) Nigella inspired meal. There were three components to this meal, and I'm rather proud of them - so I'm going to post the recipes separately but for now here's an image:

Clockwise from top: Blood and Guts Potato, Oatmealy Chicken Nuggets and Sesame Orange Salad...

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Real World Wednesdays:Chicken Soup

There are two reasons that this post is currently going image-less and neither of them is "because Kat was too hungry/lazy/forgot to take a photo" they are a) I'm at Uni and Uni doesn't like uploading photo's for me... and b) my flat internet is down to dial up speed. This, in NZ is not a rare occasion, unfortunately. In New Zealand the interwebs SUCK!!!

Also. Google Chrome can't spell "Zealand" just FYI...

So, in honour of RWW (and just to prove that I can stick with something for more than one week) I took a photo of my dinner even though it was made in a rush and is not particularly exciting... Real, honest student food then!

Chicken Soup. I blended mine with a stick-blended because clear broth with floaties freaks me out no end! I also chucked some bacon in - because it was there. The bacon gave the soup a faintly smokey smell and after tasted. Joshee (boyfriend) said it tasted like "soup" but that he was please with me for making him eat soup because it's not so bad after all... Or words to that effect!

There was also a chilli in this soup. Gave the soup some bite. And a litre of store-bought chicken stock because a) it was on special when I bought it and b) I hadn't gotten around to stripping the chicken carcass of meat yet (and by "I", I mean Joshee...) because I wanted to put that meat into my soup!

Steamy, hot, and screaming "Delicious!"


So read on for a set of guidelines to make your own 60-Minute Chicken Soup...

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Real World Wednesdays: Easy Cheesy Breakfast Pizza

So. I've decided to create my very own blog event/challenge for myself. I'm calling it "Real World Wednesdays" (RWW) wherein every Wednesday I will photograph and blog about (@ least) one meal!

The idea behind this is so that I can ensure that a reasonable portion of what eventually ends up here is actually student food! And, so that I actually post once a week or more... because a regularly updated blog is an interesting blog! In theory.

Tonight I'm planning on having Cottage Cheese Loaf so, unless I make the Swedish Cabbage Casserole I'm considering serving as a side - I won't have anything to post on my first ever RWW! And that would be very, very lame. LAME!!!

Yes, yes, I know that if I hadn't told you about my evil-genius plan until next week when I'm probs gonna be eating something I haven't posted before... you'd never know any different. But I would! And I have so many evil genius plans that it's very difficult to remember them all!

LAME!!!

Now I'm just yelling because it's fun... And the high level of italics in this post was/is freaking me out... Yelling seemed like a good way to distract you (me) from it all...

Now I'm confused. Are you confused? Or is it just me...? Oh dear!

*breathe*

Right. So. Easy Cheesy Breakfast Pizza - I eat two eggs for breakfast. EVERYDAY. Except for when I'm at home. Because my Mummy says that two eggs for breakfast everyday is too many and if I want sufficient protein I can have muesli or peanut butter toast. "But Muuummmyyy" I moan "muesli and toast have tooo maaannnyyy caaarbs!" And then I feel bad for being a whingey daughter. But when I'm in my flat I have two eggs. After a while though two plain eggs for breakfast everyday can get a little boring even if they're sometimes cooked differently...

Enter: Easy Cheesy Breakfast Pizza:

Complete with BBQ Swirl!

(Yes, yes I know... BBQ sauce kinda defeats the "healthy" purpose... But it's yummy...

Recipe follows!!!


Monday, July 25, 2011

Student Staple: Mince Chowder

I've been watching Nigella this afternoon... And she's inspired me to make, what was last year a total staple, Mince Chowder with a "Mexican" twist...

Sorry, it's kinda blurry - but this photo is sooo much prettier than the other one!
Last year this dish would grace our table at least once a month - it's a real winner! This year though, I've been remiss... One of the greatest features of this dish is its versatility - usually I make it with a hint of the Mediterranean but tonight I've gone Mex-ish!

This one's actually quite pretty too... This is Joshee's dinner...


Read further for the recipe:

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Taste & Create: Lemony Peppered Chicken

Hello all!

At last, I have my entry for this month's Taste & Create challenge!

Taste & Create is a blogging community where blogger apply, and a paired up with a partner whose blog they must sample a recipe from!

(^^ Ewww... that was a messy sentence...)

Anywho! This month I was partnered with Tamy of Always Eat on the Good China... It's a real interesting blog with a bazillion recipe! I was there for days just lookin' around... In a totally non-creepy manner. Promise.

So - eventually I decided I wanted to do something with chicken, and using that as a search, I eventually came across this recipe for Lemon Lime Pepper Chicken... I don't have any limes, so mine's just "Lemon Pepper Chicken" but this is what I came up with:

This is my Boyfriend's dinner - served with brussel sprouts, lemon/sesame glazed carrots and  pesto coated pasta... Mine was the same, only smaller. And without the pasta.
What resulted was a delicious, subtle dish that was a doddle to make, and will definitely feature on my dinner table again!

I encourage you to go to Tamy's page for the recipe, if you're interested! But these are the changes I made to her recipe:

  • As I mentioned before: I have no limes so I used only lemon.
  • I scaled the recipe down for 2 - except for the glaze which I kept as instructed except to halve the sugar (as always!)
  • Tamy has onions in her photo, so I flung half an onion in with the butter, before the chicken.
  • I bashed my chicken with a saucepan before dredging it in flour so that it would cook at an even rate. (I don't have a meat mallet...)
  • I chopped up the lemon skin and threw it in with the frying chicken, pulling it out before I poured the glaze on.
  • I did a "Nigella" and allowed the chicken to rest, wrapped in tin foil for 10 minutes while I prepared the veggies and BF's pasta - the chicken was so juicy and tender!
It was a real successful meal, and Tamy's blog is an interesting read! So thanks to Taste & Create for introducing me to a new blogger!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Home Food: Beef Wellington

Daddy asked: "What do you want for dinner"

Kat (thinking to herself): "What's the most ridiculous, unlikely thing ever... I know!"

Kat (out loud): "Beef Wellington"

Daddy: "Sounds great! Let's go shopping!"

Kat: "opgkpdokfmjgednvb jknb fd..." <-- that's what a dropped jaw sounds like.

So we did. From this we learned 5 things:
  1. That Kat is not quite as imaginative as she thinks when it comes to thinking up ridiculous meals...
  2. That Daddies have greater power to suprise than Kia cars.
  3. That Kia car advertisements are apparently effective.
  4. That Kat watches TV sometimes (when at home...)
  5. aaand... We learned what a dropped jaw sounds like!
Beef Wellington aka something else... is basically beef sirloin, slathered in pate, shrouded in mushrooms and wrapped in pastry... It can be prepared individually, or in one, great, honking slab like this:

Beef Wellington looking all posh like with not one, not two, but THREE bow ties!
In short, this is NOT the kind of meal any student will EVER make in their own flat... unless something really, really important (like feeding the Royal Family) or a bucket load of money showed up... BUT it's an AMAZING dish, and should definitely be made at some point in everyone's life, especially when one's parents are funding the meal!

This: 

              is what BW looks like on the inside... It's not a brilliant photo, but the centre is beautifully rare! If however, rare is not your thing (tsk, tsk) then the outside parts may well be more to your liking.

I served this for our Easter meal... So I set the table fancy-ily, I'm gonna show it off now!
Setting tables is my current "thing" this ones all pinks, and whites and browns b/c  Easter is a springy thing in the Northern Hemisphere, so all our Easter decorations are spring, rather than autumn based...
Because I'd never made anything like this before, I followed Nigella's recipe nearly to the letter... Things to note though, are:
  • I used my Daddy's homemade pate
  • I made my own crepes - the crepes are used to soak up any juices from the fillet and, theoretically, stop the pastry from going soggy.
  • Make sure your duxelles are really, really dry - or again, you'll have to deal with soggy pastry!
  • Mummy and I went to the butcher's so that we could stipulate exactly how much beef we wanted, and it was cheaper than the supermarket anyway!
  • I used store bought pastry - b/c I didn't feel like rolling out me own... :|
  • Next time I'd maybe cook it on a rack - b/c despite my best efforts the  base of the pastry was still a bit soggy, but Daddy said that was just meat juices from slicing the beef...?
  • I served this with roasted potatoes and steamed spinach!
And that's it! :) It's really not that difficult to make - just the beef makes it somewhat expensive. And it's a truly impressive, delicious result that will knock people's socks off for only a little effort!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Winter Comforts: Chilli Con Sausage


I have a slight crush on Nigella Lawson because she is awesome, and pretty, and she makes almost as much mess when she cooks as I do when I cook. Almost.

So this warming, winter recipe for Chilli Con Sausage is adapted for Nigella's recipe for Cornbread Topped Chilli Con Carne only smallified, cheaified and without the mince... :)

Warmth and happiness in a bowl.
The sauce, though is basically the same, and it's very tasty! The addition of cocoa truly does add a rounded, earthy touch...

I made this back when I was cooking for seven, so the method of making a few sausages go far enough is a little involved, but besides that it's a fairly easy, throw-together-and-walk-away meal!


Saturday, June 18, 2011

Taste & Create 2: Curried, Roasted Chickpeas

I'm Tasting & Creating twice this month!

My second entry is TL&LoG'sHB's Curried, Roasted Chickpeas:


Cruchy, protein-rich Study Noms
 They're so yummy that you'll eat most of 'em straight off the roasting pan and then have to pour what little are left into a shot glass so that it looks like you actually made a decent quantity...

And, LOOK! Books! And study notes! I am a real student who actually studies! Proof!

You believe me now, right?  I made these to be my study snacks while I prepare for my upcoming Behaviour Analysis exam... much better than the traditional chocolate and junk food route! :)

Click on for the recipe:

Indo-Greek Honey Pie


Now, late last year my family and I went to India... Now that the whole trip is just memories. photographs and some pretty awesome souvieners the whole experience seems a little surreal...

Anywho - while I was there it was my Birthday - and I wanted to have a dessert day with all my favourite things... Which, in hindsight is not the greatest idea when you're in a country with amazing local cuisine, but that  you're totally unfamiliar with and doesn't cater too well to adapting western recipes... Hey, hindsight is 20/20...

As testimony to that, I have previously mentioned the Red Velvet Frisbee... We won't go there... On the plus side, I also got out of my dessert day Birthday the amazing Rose Falooda which  is basically one of the yummiest drinks ever and was introduced to me by our host/hostess Geoff and Joanna - Hi! Geoff and Joanna!!! :) Thank-you for having me! Right. Now. Back to point.

Pictured above is my third dessert, and second successful one of the day. I first made this Greek Honey Pie, or melopita last year for a pot luck dinner with my family in my flat - It. Is. AMAZING! I want for it to become my "signature pie"! The recipe, of course, comes from about.com! Naturally, I wanted to make my "signature" pie for my Brthday dessert... Enter: Problem. Ricotta, in India (or at least in Goa) is expensive. Enter: Daddy. Who suggested that I use the Indian cheese paneer, which is readily available, cheap and of a similarish texture...GENIUS! (Hi! Daddy!!!)

This pie is amazing whether you make it with ricotta, paneer or cottage cheese (the student's ricotta)... I haven't really changed the original recipe much, so I'm only going to link y'all to it - because credit where credit's due, and all that - also I think the original blogger gets points every time someone goes to her page, and that's important too.

But I did make two other changes besides the cheese swap. And those are/were to halve the amount of sugar and to use all alcohol in the pastry instead of water as I do...

Aaand that's it!

Yummy! Try it. You know you want to.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Taste & Create: The Life and Loves of Grumpy's Honeybuch's Broccoli Dal

Phew! What a mouthful!

Well, after this morning's vegan-less panic... I thought to myself... "Mmm... breakfast time!" so I went looking through Shelby Mae's vegan recipes for something I could submit to Taste & Create this month!

I was avoiding all tofu recipes because a) un-fermented soy freaks the bejeebers out of me and b) because of a) I don't have any tofu lurking in my fridge...

But! Only a few recipes down I found this...

Delicious, healthy breakfast? I think so!
Broccoli Dal! OM NOM NOM NOM!!!

I'm going to brutally force y'all to click on the link to get the full recipe - because I don't want you to miss out on the blogging magic that is The Life and Loves of Grumpy's Honeybunch!

But let me tell you - this is a delicious recipe!

I did make a few changes - mainly to scale down the recipe so that it'd feed only one. I quartered it.
  • Also I didn't have any mustard seed, so I used prepared mustard instead.
  • I may have accidentally trebled the original recipe's calling for turmeric... But it was still delicious!
  • I don't have any almond milk, so I made my own by soaking LSA in 1/4 cup water!
  • And I cooked it with a teeny-weeny red chilli rather than sprinkling cayenne over the top.
Also - add salt! This dish tastes good before salt and AMAZING afterwards!

Y'all should definitely make this sometime, for breakfast, lunch or dinner!

PANIC! And true - cupboard scraping Student Food...

Hello Everybody!

Hello Shelby Mae!

Shelby Mae is my Taste & Create buddy for this month... She has a real awesome blog which she's written so that her children and future grand-children can have memories of her. Which, is basically the BEST reason to blog EVER!

And I was flicking through her blog... She have this really useful thing down the side where you can pick out key words... Thus Kat was drawn to cupcakes... And about halfway down this page, Shelby Mae talks about how she is doing her best to be vegan "Good on her!" I thought "I could never do that!" and then... "Wait! Do I have any vegan recipes on my blog?!" *looks at blog* "Hmmm... No, not reeeally..." and then "I don't even have any particularly healthy recipes on my blog. Wow!" *looks through photos on hard-drive* "No... no... no... Oh dear..."

So instead I decided to post these peanut butter cookies. Which are yummy, but contain eggs...

Peanut butter cookies. And no, Mummy, that photo was totally NOT taken on my bed... I would never eat in bed and I definitely make my bed every day... *grins a totally beLIEvable grin*
Now, before I post these... I want to alert y'all to the vegan/able and sort of healthy-ish recipes currently residing on study food:

Vegan:

Home Made Potato Fries
Muesli (provided you don't use honey...)
Fruit Salad Dressing

Annnd. Um. That's it.

Vegan-able:

Potato and Leek Soup - just leave out the cream/milk/cheese and use vegetable instead of chicken stock!

At the very least healthy! ish...

Cottage Cheese Loaf
Cottage Cheese Cupcakes
Pancakes
Spanokopita
Lemony, Fishy Rice
aaand:
Breakfast Muffins

That's it. The rest is not very good for you but very, very yummy - I promise! :)

Thanks to Shelby Mae for opening my eyes to the demographic (is that the right word?) my blog is completely missing! I'm really enjoying reading your blog! I look forward to seeing what you pick from mine...

And without further ado... the recipe for Peanut Butter Cookies

Friday, June 10, 2011

REAL Student Food: Leek and Potato Soup

Heeey...

So. I have this HUGE, important lab report due in in a couple of days, which I should TOTALLY be doing right now. And I'm gonna. Just as soon as I finish this post. I promise. I'm a good student. I promise.

Aaanywho.

It's winter here in NZ right now, and good ol' Wellywood sure turned on the waterworks today... And do you know what is totally awesome on a wet, windy, winter's day in Wellington (or anywhere?!)

Do you?

WOUP!!! (more commonly known as "soup", when used by people not making a pathetic attempt at alliteration)


Potato and Leek soup, with sage. And homemade bread roll. Mine was the little one and the heart was for my Gorgeous Boy... (you may pretend to gag now...)
 This stuff is AMAZING! All it took was 30 minutes and a nearly empty fridge with a leek in it...

Read on, Mac Duff!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Cottage Cheese Cupcakes

Oh, you poor, little, neglected blog... I've been... Well. To be perfectly honest, I've been procrastinating. I've been procrastinating life!

The kind of procrastination where even room tidying and blog writing isn't sufficient. The kind of procrastination where you huddle in a small ball on your bed crying and rocking and hoping, hoping that if you rock hard enough the rest of the world will just... Go. Away.

It's nearly the end of my University Term - can you tell?

I've not been taking many photo's lately - not because I haven't been cooking. I have. It's just me and the Gorgeous Boy now. But I've been making the kind of food most suitable for a blog called "study food" - the kind where you look in the fridge and think "Wow. That's one HUGE cabbage. Why did I buy that again?! (Oh yeah, it was reeeal cheap...) What on Earth am I going to do with it now?!" and so you dig out your Digby Law vegetable cook book and cook up Norweigan Cabbage until all that cabbage is gone. And you never want to see another cabbage again. Real food. Student food. Food that just does NOT photograph well.

You see, when you start writing a blog you think to yourself that you're totally gonna blog daily about all your cooking experiences both the good, and the bad... But it doesn't really work out that way. First off, because usually your (my) failures are so depressing that that last thing you (I) want to do with them is photograph them. And secondly, because whether you mean to or not, you become a food snob, and you don't want to put just anything on your blog - you wanna put nice things out there - people might read it!

That said, I have quite a few old photo's just chillin' here on my harddrive waiting for me to upload 'em and 'em with y'all! And I made a Beef Wellington in the break, and I just made the most divine Malteser Slice which will most definately be photographed and posted! (Provided, you know, I don't eat it all first... and I wonder why my weight's not going anywhere?!)

But to start off with, a real, valid student favourite - one that's already featured on this very blog. Cottage Cheese Loaf. But this is Cottage Cheese Loaf as it's never been before...

I present to you, drumroll please...


Dun, dun, duuun...
 The COTTAGE CHEESE CUPCAKE!!! withreducedtomatofrostingandtoastedcuminseedsprinklesforalimitedtimeonly...

These. Are. Awesome! Hello?! Cupcakes!

Read on for the recipe...

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Leftover Pastry Snacks

Sooo... I was just flacking through my favourite blogs and feeling sad that none of them have updated in a while when I realised - neither have I! So here goes...



Cute, aren't they? And what's more, they're affordable and easy to make! Using leftovers...


Just little pastry squares - they make good snacks!

Here's how:

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Red Velvet Comparison

Mostly, I am a student making do with a student flat. But sometimes, I am a daughter luxuriating in the comforts of Home.

Here, I have a photo comparison of two Red Velvet Cakes. The recipe comes, as ever, from about.com and the only things I changed were to, again - as ever, halve the amount of sugar and change the "shortening" for butter.



This first one I made at my flat, last year... I baked it for a dessert party I didn't quite make it to... I even bought the buttermilk especially for it! (I made yummy pancakes with the leftover buttermilk!) It was moist, chocolatey, red and delicious. The icing, guiltily from a can (it was on special...) has put me off ever purchasing the trans-saturated goop ever again, but hey! On top is melted chocolate and jelly crystals.

So although the cake itself was yummy enough to convince me that I definitely wanted to make it again - I wanted a slightly more chocolatey effect and definitely wanted to do my own icing...

Enter the Indian Red Velvet Frisbee - where I experimented with a different recipe... And ended up with a practically deep fried disc - which our hostess gamely tried to revive by serving it in a banoffee-type trifle, but really it was beyond redemption and I was too disheartened to photograph it.

Upon returning home - I had my 20th Birthday all over again (2.0) and I really wanted a Red Velvet Cake that worked! So, I returned to about.com added a little extra cocoa, halved the sugar and made my own icing... The result? Possibly the best cake I've ever eaten... And here it is!


Moist, sticky, even more chocolately, deep blood red - and that cream cheese with vanilla bean icing? To die for! Yum! Guess what kind of cake I'm having for my 21st...




The biggest difference between flat-cake and home-cake was the affordability of ingredients. And with a whole bottle of red food colouring in it - Red Velvet Cake is never gonna be a budget friendly cake. But as a Birthday blow-out, about.com's Red Velvet Cake recipe is a reliable show stopper.

Stay tuned for flat-friendly cakes to come.... 

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Daring Bakers: India-Scented Yeasted-Coffee Cake

The March 2011 Daring Baker’s Challenge was hosted by Ria of Ria’s Collection and Jamie of Life’s a Feast. Ria and Jamie challenged The Daring Bakers to bake a yeasted Meringue Coffee Cake.


Now, that's the formalities out of the way... :) I joined the daring bakers - now each month I am challenged to bake a new and exciting recipe!

This month it was a yeasted Meringue Coffee Cake. Which is a cake to serve with coffee (or in my case masala chai) NOT a coffee flavoured cake. Unless you put coffee in it. Which I didn't.

Aaanyway... This is what mine looked like:


From the outside - it was a wreath-shape!
And from the inside, all swirly and pretty...
One of the hostesses with the mostest(esses...?), Ria, made her coffee-cake with an Indian twist - as I happened to be at home when my parents were planning a Goan feast, I decided that then was as good a time as any to make my coffee cake.

You've seen how it looked, now let me discuss how it tasted. First off - it was yummy enough, but I'm not sure I'll rush to try it again... Here's why:

1) it was kinda dry - I will put this down to the fact that I don't believe my yeast worked... The cake was light, but dry.

2) there wasn't enough meringue. When I halved the dough recipe, I also halved the meringue part. Mistake. I couldn't tell it was there at all!

3) I didn't distinguish between sweet and savoury garam masala... My fault, I know! The effect was... interesting.

Otherwise it was a very simple dessert to make, and it looked stunning!

Perhaps, with my previous errors in mind, I should try it again...?

Watch this space!